Adjusting to Changing Environments
We are in an unprecedented time for peer to peer fundraising and events. In the matter of a few short weeks our lives have been substantially altered: events are cancelled, fundraising opportunities have vanished, and it looks as if spring or summer revenue goals will not be achieved. Needless to say, this is a lot at once. Our job at Zuri Group is to ease your burden and clear pathways to success — and we think we have an answer with technology.
Before you cancel or postpone upcoming events, ask yourself: “can this event be held virtually?”
For a lot of organizations the answer is YES, and you may not realize it yet. Here are 4 things to evaluate as you decide to jump into a new opportunity.
Fortunately, creating a virtual event environment is both easy for you and highly accessible for your audience. Live streaming services on social media make it extremely easy to both broadcast and “attend” virtual events, apps and games can be embedded into your existing homepages and event sites, and online giving is finding a new home in uncharted territory. Everything you need to “go virtual” is at your fingertips— all you have to do is take the leap! In part two of this Virtual Events blog series, we’ll share specific platforms to utilize for successful peer to peer virtual events.
When transitioning to a virtual event, it’s critical to know what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. Messaging should be clear, compassionate, and well-timed. Conclude your message with a reminder that support for your mission is just as critical now as ever, and emphasize the importance of building a community of support during a time when daily life is changing and stress levels are at an all-time high. By communicating the purpose of your virtual event, which is in part to provide an opportunity for interaction, those of us who crave normalcy will be ready to join in.
Turn your virtual events from good to great using social media. Think of your organization’s Facebook, Instagram or YouTube account as your one-stop shop to view every moment of your virtual event.
Creating a clever hashtag for your events and encouraging supporters to share it is a great way to build community around a central purpose.
Do you want to increase interaction between supporters? Host an online competition! Recognize virtual walkers who exhibit the most creativity, have the highest fundraising success or show the most enthusiasm. You can reward your winners with simple acts of appreciation such as shares, likes and mentions or you can consider more substantial prizes and incentives.
Make it a family affair! With the world running at a slower-than-normal pace, this is a perfect opportunity to bring loved ones together and share interests. By creating events that encourage the whole family to work on a project, you are not only helping strengthen bonds but also expanding your audience.
While it may be intimidating, development staff need to lead the way toward virtual events now more than ever. Sure, most of us would have preferred to dip our toes in the water rather than take the plunge. But here we are. When you walk confidently into the next chapter of your peer to peer program, your supporters will follow.
As fundraisers who build communities, your goal is to provoke action when people are looking for something to do, encourage continued support of the mission that you and your supporters care deeply about, and be the brightness during a time when looking to the future is harder than usual. Events are postponed for the foreseeable future, but our missions will continue. Online revenue will become increasingly important, virtual events is our current reality, and we will meet our goals.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog series where we will explore specific platforms that will help you host successful events online.
Carly Samuelson is a Digital Fundraising Strategist at Zuri Group. She has decades of experience creating vibrant, engaging online fundraising campaigns.